After 13 years in jail, man walks free as SC nullifies extra-judicial confession

Supreme Court.

New Delhi: For 13 years, Nikhil Chandra Mondal languished in jail for an extra-judicial confession that was considered trustworthy to charge him for the murder of his wife.

The prosecution theory of extra-judicial confession haunted Mondal, now aged about 64, for 40 years as he battled with the law to prove his innocence.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ordered his release, saying: “It is a settled principle of law that extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence.”

A bench comprising justices B.R. Gavai and Sanjay Karol said: “It has been held that where an extra-judicial confession is surrounded by suspicious circumstances, its credibility becomes doubtful and it loses its importance.”

Advocate Rukhsana Choudhury, representing Mondal, vehemently argued that the Calcutta High Court has grossly erred in reversing the well-reasoned judgment and order of acquittal passed by the trial court.

She submitted that the finding of the trial court disbelieving the extra-judicial confession alleged to have been made to three witnesses could not be said either to be perverse or illegal and sought setting aside of the high court judgment.

The West Bengal government contested Mondals’ defence saying that the High Court, has rightly found that the extra-judicial confession made before witnesses was trustworthy, reliable, and cogent.

According to Choudhury, since his arrest after the killing of his wife and following his conviction by the high court in 2008, he has spent more than 13 years in prison.

The bench observed that it is a settled principle of law that however strong a suspicion may be, it cannot take the place of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

It further added that it is well-settled that it is a rule of caution where the court would generally look for independent, reliable corroboration before placing any reliance upon such extra-judicial confession.

“It has been held that there is no doubt that conviction can be based on an extra-judicial confession, but in the very nature of things, it is a weak piece of evidence,” said the bench.

Mondal moved the apex court in 2010 against his conviction and sentence. The prosecution case rested on the extrajudicial confession alleged to have been made by Mondal before three of his fellow villagers, who were made prosecution witnesses by the police.

The top court said the high court judgment, passed in December 2008, on the government’s appeal convicting the appellant for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the IPC is quashed and set aside.

Citing a 1984 verdict, the bench said it can be seen that this court has held that the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully established.

The top court said: “It has been held that the circumstances concerned ‘must or should’ and not ‘may be’ established. It has been held that there is not only a grammatical but a legal distinction between ‘may be proved’ and ‘must be or should be proved’. It has been held that the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused… they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty.”

The bench noted that it has been held that the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency and they should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one sought to be proved.

“There must be a chain of evidence so complete so as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused,” the bench added.

The murder was allegedly committed in March 1983 in Burdwan district of West Bengal. The trial court decided the case in March 1987, acquitting Mondal, who was charged with allegedly killing his wife.

ASI gets ‘one more chance’ to file its reply on Shivling issue

Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court has granted "one more chance" to the Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), to file its response by April 5 and clarify whether the carbon dating...

How is everyone arrested, except Amritpal, asks High Court

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the state government that "how is everyone arrested, except Amritpal Singh", adding that "if he has he escaped, this is...

‘Hare-brained idea’, SC junks PIL seeking registration of live-in relationships with Centre

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday junked a PIL seeking framing of norms for registration of every live-in relationship with the central government, saying it is a "hare-brained" idea....

Sealed covers are against settled judicial principles, says SC after Centre gives sealed cover in OROP case 

The Supreme Court on Monday said that it is planning to put to an end the practice of allowing litigants to make submissions in sealed covers after the Union government...

Atiq Ahmad’s wife, sons to be named as gang members

Prayagraj: In a first, Shaista Parveen , wife of mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad, and their three sons will now be named as members of his gang registered as IS-227 in police...

Community certificate rectifies historical injustice: SC ends bankman’s 20-yr ordeal for justice

New Delhi: For nearly 20 years, R. Sundaram, who retired as a scale 3 officer of the Indian Bank after a tenure of 38 years, ran from pillar to post...

NCSC takes cognizance of derogatory remarks by Ram Rahim

Chandigarh: Taking cognizance of a viral news video wherein self-styled jailed godman and Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who is undergoing a 20-year sentence for raping his two...

Sri Rama Sena leader held guilty by K’taka court in hate speech case

Yadgir (Karnataka): Karnataka local court on Friday held Sri Rama Sena state President Siddalinga Swamy, pontiff of Karuneshwara Mutt in Andola, guilty of hate speech. The Karnataka Police had lodged...

Twitter can’t seek protection under Article 19, don’t give relief: Centre to K’taka HC

Bengaluru: The Centre has submitted to the Karnataka High Court that American microblogging platform Twitter cannot take protection under Article 19 of the Constitution which ensures freedom of speech and...

K’taka bribe case: Lokayukta to file another case against accused BJP MLA

Bengaluru: The Lokayukta sleuths are preparing to file another case against BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa, accused in a bribe for tender case, regarding the accumulation of disproportionate wealth, sources said...

BCI allows foreign lawyers to practice in India

In a significant development, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has decided to permit foreign lawyers and law firms to practise in areas such as foreign law, international legal issues...

‘Larger conspiracy by Centre’, K. Kavitha moves SC against ED’s summons

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear on March 24, a plea by Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K. Kavitha against her questioning and also seeking protection...

Read Previous

Lokayukta forms special teams to arrest K’taka BJP MLA in bribery case

Read Next

After bribery scandal, BJP may have to pay dearly for ‘40% commission’ tag

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :